Friday, December 23, 2016

DNA Testing

Normally I don't buy something because of a commercial. In fact I can count on one hand the number of times a commercial sold me something. The AncestryDNA commercials are lame, and not completely honest, but they were able to sell me their product. I say not completely honest because in one of their commercials they have a woman from South America saying that she always thought she was a Latina but she did the test and found out she is actually Native American, Asian, and European. Um duh, and what did she think Latina is? The funny thing is this test has no genetic marker for "Latino" which is why I say the commercial is dishonest. Her test changes nothing. She's still from whatever country it was in South America and she is still Latina. If not for the Asian and European blood she would be a Native American living in the Amazon far from civilization. Somehow I managed to get past the stupid marketing gimmick though and was interested in doing the test. 

On my mom's side of the family we know a lot of our family history. My mom's family were British royals and nobles so the records were good. We know my mom was related to Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Sir John Harrington (Elizabeth's cousin and inventor of the flushing toilet), William The Conqueror, and his great grandfather Rollo. On my dad's side we knew a little over 100 years back. And then there's Natalie's family where we don't really know anything past her great grandmother. On her mom's side there were rumors about blood from India or Pakistan mixed with Taíno and on her Dad's side Spanish, Italian, and Filipino. So after months and months about talking about doing the test I finally shelled out the cash and did it. 

So first off how does this work? I had a lot of questions that no one could answer, turns out it's on the website. Genetics of a population in a certain region change over time so what time are they looking at? Well turns out they took samples of something like 3000 natives from 26 different regions around the world and figured out what genetic markers belonged to each region. The only region that the natives have 100% of the blood from their region was Native American. British natives have 60% of those genes, Arabs 69%, European Jews 96%, Nigerian 69%, etc. So that is how the test works. So of course this tells you your DNA not necessarily where your family came from. It does and doesn't do that depending on circumstances. 

So what were the results? On my side not a whole lot of surprises. 53% British. I'm 97% European and 3% Middle Eastern. Shocker. Less Portuguese than I was expecting since culturally speaking I'm 1/8 Portuguese, European Jew and Eastern European which were a little surprising but not a huge shocker, and 3% Middle Eastern, I'm actually surprised it wasn't a little higher. Anyone that knows Sicily's history knows that Africans and Middle Easterner's took over the island which is why Italians from the mainland treat Sicilians like bastard step children. I told my family Middle Eastern would show up and I don't think anyone really believed me until I got the results. 

I shared my results on facebook and was a little surprised by the stupidity of some of my friends. People saying they are afraid to do the test because they might find something they don't like. WTF? How does your blood change who you are? The funny thing is one of the people that said that is most likely British and if you know British history were the Brits really any better than the rest of the world? I don't just know my genetics I know who some of my royal family were and they weren't good people. That was 500 years ago though, get over it. The most interesting conversation I had was with a great aunt. My mom was asking my great grandparents if the Paulins came from Germany or France and the answer she got was basically an I don't know. Well my great aunt Margorie cleared it all up. Apparently in the early 1900's the Paulins came from an area known as Alsace Lorraine which was created by the German empire and fought over in the Franco-Prussian War. 85% of the population spoke German, including the Paulins, but now it's part of France. I haven't actually read that much into the history of the area but it's on my to do list. 

So now Natalie's results. Before I spill the beans I'll share my pre-test estimate. I thought probably some Native American (Taíno) survived the Colombus massacre even though the actual Taínos no longer exist, then some Spanish, Italian, Filipino, maybe some Indian (dot not feather), and about 15-20% African. Turns out there was a lot more African than I guessed, no Filipino, no Indian, and the shocker was probably the British, European Jew, and Scandinavian. I'm the one that is a descendant of Rollo and I had no Scandinavian but my wife does. Not a lot but it's there. I guess over a millennia it's all out of my blood line. It would be interesting if more of her family did this test so we could get a better idea of where each of the genes come from. It would be even more interesting if we actually found out where her family came from but that doesn't look like it's going to be easy. 

Here are my results

In every region we both were below the typical native. No surprise there. This was the closest either of us got to the Native population. I have to say if genetics are this close to the natives in the UK 150 years after my family came here and mixed up with everyone else my family 150 years ago were probably all inbred.
 And Natalie's results.

 The range I was talking about. So in this one out of 40 genes they looked at she got anywhere from 2-25% Nigerian which averages out to 13%.
 As you can see the Native American range was a lot tighter.

So it turns out my kids are 1/5 African. These test are funny because they destroy people's ignorant notions that they are pure bred whatever they think they are. A couple years ago I wrote a blog post which mentioned a white supremacist that found out he is 17% Sub-Saharan African on TV. It was hilarious. They claim that 47% of white Americans have African blood. People look at all the blonde hair, blue eyed people and think that is not possible. Well look at my daughter.

I have to say it's a good thing I'm not living 150 years ago and no longer Mormon. Brigham Young would have had me killed. Yeah they have tried to throw him under the bus, but they contradict themselves by saying their prophets can't lead people astray. Plus they haven't changed the name of either one of their universities named after a hateful racist who compared his wives to cattle.

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." -Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110). It's on byu.lib so it's Mormon approved literature. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

San Diego

The day after Thanksgiving Natalie and I took our 8 year anniversary trip. The original plan was to go to Catalina's Two Harbors but when I tried to get a hotel a couple months ago they were already booked. I didn't want to do Avalon again so I decided to go to San Diego instead and enjoy all the amazing food and drinks the city has to offer. It turned out to be a really good decision because the weather went to hell that weekend and Catalina would have sucked; not to mention puking the whole boat ride back in a boat.

So Friday we headed down to San Diego. Our first stop was Lolita's where I had one of the best burritos ever. I asked the girl what is her favorite burrito and she said most people like the California but she likes the 2 in 1. Two rolled tacos in a burrito. I decided to go with that and it was amazing. I had a single Modelo Negro with lunch which left me slightly buzzed. I only mention that because, well you'll see if you keep reading. So after lunch we decided to rent some bikes and take a ride. The weather was still amazingly good at this point so we had to get in all the outdoor action before it went to hell. It was a little over 3 miles to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge so I thought a bike ride would be the best way to get there. The bridge was built in 1912 and crosses a dry wash. It was a nice quick stop followed by a downhill ride back to the car.

After that we checked into the hotel and crashed for a couple hours. We woke up as the sun was setting and went back to the gas lamp district for some food and beer. We spent the next couple hours at Quad Ale House then headed to the hotel and crashed out by 9. We had to save all our energy for the next day.

The next day was a busy one. After breakfast we headed over to the USS Midway Museum for what was supposed to be a 3 hour tour. The weather started getting rough, wait this is sounding like Gilligan's Island. But really, the weather turned to poo just as we got to the boat. The three hour tour turned into four and we had to bail out before trying the flight simulator. 

So next we took the trolley over to Little Italy and had to run through the rain with cheap ponchos from 7 Eleven that were pretty much useless. I heard Buon Appetito is good so I wanted to check it out. In my entire life I have had lasagna at exactly two restaurants that was good. This was one of them. Our stop there didn't start out good. We got seated and were ignored for 10 minutes while people were ordering around us. Once the waitress realized it she quickly fixed the situation and even threw in free dessert. I have to say I was very impressed with the food. I had the best beer of the entire weekend there, Eel River Blonde Ale. 

After dinner we went to Half Door Brewery and had some more beer. I wasn't too impressed so we went out looking for some better beer. However it was cold and I was wearing shorts like an idiot so we had to stop at the mall and get some warmer clothes. I bought my first scarf that night and learned one scarf is like wearing two sweaters. So now that I was warm we could hit the street again. When we got to the gas lamp we walked in a square around the same area for a half hour looking for some place that didn't look lame but wasn't full of nasty drunks and ass sweat. So we eventually stopped at Union something where I had a mediocre mojito, a really good Coco Lopez, and a shot of whiskey. Remember when I mentioned that one beer the previous day had me buzzed? Well here I was 5 drinks in and feeling nothing. That lasagna coated my stomach real good. 

So after a quick stop at the hotel we went over to the Kilt Lifter but they were closed except the bar. So we both had a Stella and left. Eventually we ended up at this house converted into a bar. Don't ask me what it was called, I have no freakin clue. All I know is we had 2 more beers while we played scrabble. Natalie talked a lot of crap about how good she is but had to quit mid game because she could no longer formulate a word with more than three letters. So us old folks who crashed out at 9 the night before made it to midnight thirty that morning. When I got back I took a shower and I crashed out and had the best sleep in a long time. 

The next morning before leaving we stopped at Rei De Gado for some steak. I wouldn't be me if I didn't eat so much steak that I was in pain that night. I regret nothing.

At the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. There was a house for sale on the other side for 1.5 million. I'm kinda surprised that those people live in such a nice location but they don't cleanup the hill behind them.

We had a corner room on the 25th floor of the Hilton.

At Quad Ale House
Such a nice area except for the fact that the homeless were everywhere and on drugs. This lady kept doing some funny dance. One guy was actually in the middle of the street with his arms in the air yelling at God.
The Midway

The last action the Midway had was desert storm. The maps behind me are from Iraq.

I remember seeing tubes like this in a museum in San Jose when I was a kid.
Don't get the wrong knob.
On our way up to the bridge.

The captains seat. The funny thing is the captain doesn't actually steer the boat or control the speed.
Looking at the Carl Vinson and Theodore Roosevelt.

My favorite WWII plane. The F-4U Corsair. It's a sexy beast with an 11:1 kill ratio over the Japanese.

The engine that won the war. Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp, twin row, 18-cylinder radial engine. This beast was in the Corsair, Hellcat, and Bearcat. I already felt like I was in Disneyland when they had an F-4U on a carrier and adding the engine on display made it all that much better.
Last morning at the hotel.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My favorite time of the decade

It's my favorite time of the decade. Eight years after our country got hijacked we are finally getting it back. It's been a fun month. November 8th everyone learned how delusional the media is, I got 5 hours of watching people deny what was happening right before their eyes, I got to bathe in liberal tears, I got to sit back and laugh at adults that need therapy dogs to deal with their life, and if we're really lucky we might even get to see Hillary in jail. 

The day after elections I saw a former friend from high school post some BS about what am I going to tell my daughter. Well you can start by telling her that if you want to go somewhere in life don't do it by riding off the coattails of a dirty cheating husband. Go out and actually accomplish something. Having a vagina is not an accomplishment. Teach your daughter that if you break laws, defend rapist, steal, murder, treat people like dirt, etc, etc, etc, it's eventually going to catch up with you. What would you tell your daughter if she won? You could have all this if you just take your country to the drive thru? I'm so relieved we don't have to deal with 8 more years of this crap. Not that I'm a huge fan of Trump but I'll take the revolver with 3 bullets for Russian Roulette over the one with 5 any day.

Anyways enough of politics. I could literally go on for hours about this. What else happened this month? 

Last week we headed out to California for Thanksgiving. The time finally had arrived to undo some of the weeks of a stricter diet. While I was out there I decided to go through the attic and dig up my old hot wheels and micro machines for Zach. We also got to ditch the kids and take off for San Diego for a couple days; a whole other post. Here's a couple pics from the last couple weeks. 

Hiking down the hill behind my house late one night. 
I bought a my pillow a couple weeks ago and Adri decided to play with the box. She kept farting and decided she was going to fart in the box and store her fart. So here she is packing up her gift.
Zachy Zach playing cars with me.

It usually takes me a few drinks to feel like this.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What does the fox say?

Yesterday I decided to try coyote hunting again in Black Canyon. A few weeks ago I was coyote hunting there and shot a fox, previous blog post. I got a good shot on the fox, there was lots of blood, but the trail dried up after 20 yards. I think the fox made it under a huge pile of debris and I would have needed a tractor to move it. No doubt it was a kill, disappointed I didn't find it.

So yesterday I decided to try my luck again. This time I took a different trail on the same creek. My first setup I called in nothing. So I took a rough hike along the creek where the canyon walls have trees and cactus growing through the rocks. It was a nice scenic hike and I'm sure there were foxes all over the place but the brush was too thick to see 10 feet in front of me. So eventually after passing a homeless camp I found a clearing and went for round two. Nothing came in and the wind was getting strong so I was about to go home. 

Then I decided to hike a little further just to see where the trail goes. I decided to setup one more time. I put my call and decoy out in open ground in a dry wash in full sun and I just took a knee next to a bush in the shade. I turned left shoulder to towards the call, something I learned the hard way to do in the past. After not even a minute of calling a fox came running in my from my right side. I had obviously walked right passed her just a couple minutes prior and had no clue. They hide well so no surprise. I probably had walked past 50 of them that morning. If I had a fox hound I'd probably find them every couple minutes. Anyways, the fox was charging right at my call and decoy. I lifted up my rifle and when the fox got past the last tree it was obvious it still didn't know I was there.

I followed it for a couple seconds then about 20 yards before my decoy I pulled the trigger. Fox down. I no longer get the anxiety kicking in when I see foxes and coyotes so I'm landing some good shots now.  I got up and as soon as I did the fox did too so I took a couple more shots. By the time I got to the fox I had a chest shot and blew apart both front feet but fox was still alive. I'll spare the details but I had to finish the fox off without a bullet. Not the way I like it to go down but once they're shot there's no choice but to finish the job. Before skinning the fox I took a look at my shots and it's amazing how tough these things are. I landed a chest shot just a couple inches from the heart and lung. A good shot considering it was running when I pulled the trigger. The kill zone is probably slightly bigger than a golf ball. I had been using 30 06 but switched to .223 because I didn't want to ruin the pelt. I'm thinking I could get away with 30 06. I definitely see now why people use shotguns for predator hunting. It's nothing like stalking and hunting large game.

I got the fox mostly skinned out in the field and left it for the crows. They were circling and calling loud before I left. I made some noob mistakes. First mistake is don't skin it on the ground. Hang it so you can get a good pull on the pelt. I got both ears but only got half the snout and didn't get the nose. I also messed up the tail and it's going to have to be sewed back on after I'm done. So this one will probably be made into a scarf. Maybe next time a hat. 

Hiking through the canyon. Look at the root on that tree.
 Cactus growing through the rocks.

It's Not 100 Degrees Anymore

This is the best time of the year in Arizona. Everyone else around the country gets to freeze their butts off and its actually good weather here. I usually get in 3-4 hikes a week  and all the summer fat starts coming off. Plus we're really busy with the kids and the holidays.

This year my sister decided to come out here a couple days before Halloween. It was a good decision on their part. We have a lot of cool activities for the kids out here. We took the kids to Cave Creek, Zoo lights, and the best pumpkin patch I've been to

At Cave Creek

That's a 400 pound pumpkin
Natalie bought a selfie stick. Nerd.

That's a giant sundial

This was at Autumn Fest at Anthem Park
On one of the days my sister was here Jeff and I went shooting at Table Mesa. Cody didn't have earplugs so he got my earmuffs and I got toilet paper in my ears. My AK-74 isn't that bad but Jeff's S&W AR 15 made my left ear ring for days. I've had to take it easy on the heavy metal since then. I'm getting pretty good with my HK VP9. 14 out of 15 shots hit their target.
The pumpkin on the porch was in a cactus the week prior. I think it's supposed to be Trump. On the left side of the patio a pumpkin puked his seeds and guts out.

At Zoo lights. It was pretty cool but no animals.

Captain America fell asleep before getting his first piece of candy but he had a death grip on his bucket through the entire line. He woke up to a nice surprise.

The morning before going to the pumpkin patch I hiked up the hill behind my house like I do a couple times a week. I took this panoramic from my Galaxy 7 phone.
At Mortimar Farms

No I didn't have to stage this picture. Zach went running right up to the tractor.

Adri showing off her gymnastics skills.
Zach kept wanting to go again. I let him go 5 times in a row. Cass and her family had already moved on, it was hot, I didn't have sunblock, and eventually I had to pull the kid out. Epic tantrum when his turn was up. I'm pretty sure he could have sat in there all day; or at least until he falls asleep in there.
Zach is quite the climber
I'm pretty sure Zach has a favorite cousin. We might have to have a talk with him because he might even have a crush. He loves his cousin Aubrey.
This wagon is the best thing since sliced bread. It's hard to get a good wagon these days. Everything is made of plastic, including the wheels. Had to get this one online.
Yeah we got lost. I didn't even try to get through it. We made it somewhere in there then turned back. 

At this point the kids were getting tired and didn't want to smile. I told them to say "Hillary for jail". They all started yelling it and laughing and the guy next to us got the most disgusted face. I wanted to give him directions to California.

As far as handing out candy this was the best Halloween ever. I dressed up like Mr. Robot, got a fog machine and strobe light, and listened to the best Metal album of all time, Insomnium's Winter's Gate. One song 40 minutes long. I had kids refusing to come up and ask for candy. A couple of the bigger kids came charging across the street until I hit the remote in my hand for fog and stopped them in their tracks. Several people commented they thought I wasn't even real. I didn't move or respond; not even when they said thank you.

The last couple days his cousins were here Zach started his talking strike. He's been doing this a lot lately going from talking to humming entire sentencing. It drives us crazy. This round lasted three days then started up again. So we got him another evaluation with a speech therapist. Personally I think it's selective mutism. Last week Natalie left for the weekend with Cassandra and he talked most of the weekend. You can see here he's being quite the talker. Today he's humming again.